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Title: Mediated person-to-person communication : a social psychological perspective
Author: Guild, Paul Douglas
ISNI:       0000 0001 3521 9254
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 1978
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Chapter One introduces and outlines the possible contribution of the thesis to telecommunications research. There were four main objectives, the first of which was to demonstrate that theoretical contributions of social psychology might be applicable to questions of mediated interaction. Previous research in social psychology, for the most part conducted in a face-to-face condition, might generalize to the new research and if it did not, this too might be of interest. Familiar research findings related to such phenomena as leadership role emergence, intimacy management and effects of self-focused attention are among the theoretical concepts employed in the reported investigations of mediated communication. A second objective was to develop research methods for use in communication studies. A standardized test for assessing person perception in the video medium was developed. Further, a method for assessing communality of impressions, also termed inter subjectivity, was created for use in communication studies. The third objective was to attempt to find answers to problems posed by telecommunications designers and evaluators. For example, systems engineers have long pondered the issue of how much information is necessary for successful audio-video interaction. A more basic question, namely, whether or not nonverbal cues could be communicated effectively through this medium, was given careful consideration. Finally, the fourth objective of the thesis was the attempt to identify the most successful dependent variables for use in experimental communication studies. Chapter Two was concerned with significant changes to social processes which might occur during mediated interaction. Two experimental studies comprised the chapter. Teleconferencing and leadership emergence. An attempt was made to assess the role of medium of communication on leadership differentiation in discussion groups. Groups of undergraduates met on five different occasions to solve human relations problems, either in face-to-face discussion situations, or over video conferencing networks. In face-to-face conditions, development of leadership took almost a classic form, with sociometric measures system atically related to behavioural indexes; in the video (teleconference) conditions, role differentiation tendencies were sharply curtailed, and the relationship of sociometric indexes with indexes of verbal output were greatly diminished. Speculations about how mediated communication may affect differentiation processes were offered. Distance, gaze and the intimacy equilibrium model in video-mediated and face-to-face dyads. This experiment focused on the Argyle-Dean Intimacy Equilibrium Model, gaze and social distance in face-to-face and video-mediated dyads. It was found that, during video-mediated interaction, communicators did not experience the anticipated degree of interpersonal remoteness or separation. What was expected to act as a technological barrier appeared to affect social influence but not interpersonal or informational communication. Under video-mediated (teleconference) conditions, certain negative consequences of excessive intimacy (especially assertiveness or dominance) appeared less salient, while certain positive effects remained unchanged. Consequently, subjects in the video-mediated conditions liked each other to a greater degree, enjoyed the experiment to a greater extent, and perceived greater "closeness" than did subjects in face-to-face conditions. The levels of intradyadic gaze, which were significantly higher in the video-mediated dyads, may have increased perceived intimacy between communicators. Chapter Three examined the conceptualization and methodological development of intersubjectivity for use in communication studies. Four empirical studies are reported in this chapter. Intersubjectivity: a concept and methodology for communication studies. A theoretical study of intersubjectivity, a condition of shared impressions or communality of experience between individuals, was undertaken. The origins of this concept were considered and an attempt was made to show its compatibility with other theory in social psychology. Methodologies were developed for measuring the extent of intersubjectivity in communication studies. These may be employed to test differences of dispersion or variability in semantic differential ratings. Subsequent investigations of mediated communication may benefit from this type of analysis. Variation in person perception as a function of cultural differences between encoder and decoder. This investigation, composed of two studies, assessed variation in person perception occurring as a function of cultural differences between encoder and decoder. Understanding of such variation may be essential as cross-cultural mediated communication becomes more commonplace. A multicultural subject population of psychiatric nursing students was subdivided into categories either like or unlike the apparent cultural background of two encoders in a standardized person perception test. It was found that, as predicted, like decoders were more effective at classifying the encoders' nonverbal communicative acts than were unlike decoders. Moreover, like decoders formed more homogeneous impressions of the encoders' personalities. Implications for international teleconferences were considered. Comparing social influence and intersubjectivity in three communication conditions. This quasi-experiment attempted to assess social influence and intersubjectivity in three dyadic conditions: (a) simulated-distance teleconference, (b) real-distance teleconference, and (c) face-to-face conference. Indexes of intersubjectivity but not social influence showed significant differences. There was greater communality of experience among face-to-face dyads than among dyads in either of the teleconference conditions. Differences between the two teleconference conditions were not evident. Further, this study considered some problems associated with employing rigorous experimental methodologies in settings which do not allow adequate experimental control. An assessment of differential intersubjectivity in five communication conditions. In this experiment, several intersubjectivity analyses were performed on data from five communication conditions. Three were face-to-face dyadic interactions at distances of: (I) ¾ metre, (II) 2 metres, and (III) 3 metres. Two were audio-video mediated dyadic interactions with distances comparable to (IV) 2 metres, and (V) 3 metres. Communality of impressions formed of their discussions was assessed. It was found that, as predicted, greatest intersubjectivity coincided with greatest immediacy and social presence. The intersubjectivity analyses complemented and extended previous findings. An assessment of inter subjectivity in equivalent groups. This study compared the homogeneity of impressions formed of two encoders by members of equivalent groups. The purpose was to demonstrate that differences do not necessarily emerge when an intersubjectivity analysis is performed. Both groups of subjects viewed a standardized person perception test and then rated the encoders' personalities using semantic differentials. Results showed no significant group differences in homogeneity of impressions formed of either encoder. Chapter Four considers the way in which medium of communication can be responsible for the attenuation of social cues, and investigates this in two studies. Consequences of reduced information rates for person perception in a video medium.
Supervisor: Argyle, Michael Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Interpersonal communication ; Telecommunication ; Psychological aspects ; Social psychology